St Mary’s Priory, Little Dunmow, Essex (2/3)


In the previous post of St Mary’s Priory in Little Dunmow, we looked at the graffiti round the doorway and the first two columns. This revealed the first of two graffiti described in Pritchard’s English Medieval Graffiti.

The rest of the graffiti in the church is on the last two columns and the tombs. Prichard’s other graffiti in St Mary’s is a piece of script. It is in Latin and much abbreviated, but says ‘Hic requiescat corpus Johannis de Monte Caniso, cujus animea propicietur Deus. Amen’ – ‘Here lies the body of John of Monte Caniso, whose soul belongs to God. Amen.’

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Below the inscription is a finely worked knotwork panel.

The other significant graffiti on the columns includes some Marian marks, compass circles, ladder patterns, cross hatching, merels, butterfly crosses, dot patterns, a partial pentagram and a saltire square. There is a curious face drawn inside a triangle. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing if they were drawn together or if the face was added to the already existing triangle.

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There are two alabaster tombs in the church. One is of an unknown woman, the other is dedicated to Walter Fitzwalter (1432-1464) and his wife. They are both richly engraved with initials with a couple of Marian marks (including an underlined M) among the tourist graffiti. The dates graffitied on the tombs range from 1798 to 1833.

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Report by Anthea Hawdon

See previous post for address and location details.

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